This item from the collection is a hand forged, wrought iron cloth rule marked on the front side with the Dutch or Flemish Ell and on the back with the English Yard. The initials T.B.B. are for Thomas Brower Banker (1729-1807). Thomas was a blacksmith in Schenectady in the second half of the 18th century. The date 1768 is the year in which it was forged. The word MART is the middle Dutch word for market. The word marked on the side for the yard, GERT, is most likely a phonetic middle Dutch spelling for the old English word for yard, which was spelled gierd.DSCN1310

  The Dutch or Flemish Ell was 27inches, or 12nails, and was used to measure a few types Dutch linens that were known as Hollands. The English also used the Dutch Ell and continued to use it even after it was prohibited by the imperial measure act of 1824.

  Thomas B. Banker was born in 1729 and was the grandson of Gerit banker, the second mayor of Albany, and one of the original patent holders of Schenectady. Thomas married Anna Mabee in 1754. Anna was the niece of Abraham Mabee, who was a blacksmith in Schenectady in the first half of the 18th century. It seems very likely that Banker either apprenticed with or worked as a journeyman for Abraham Mabee. Banker also served as a Captain in the Second Albany Militia during the revolution serving at the battle of Saratoga and in both the Schoharie and Mohawk valley’s. Thomas and Anna are buried in Vale Cemetery.DSCN1304

  It seems that Thomas was named after one of the early Dominie’s of Schenectady. His father and uncle were in charge of calling a new pastor for Schenectady and called a young man from Holland. His name was Thomas Brower. He died unmarried, in 1728 and left part of his estate to Johannes Banker, who was Thomas Bankers father. About a year before Thomas Brower Banker was born.  

  Thomas Banker is also mentioned in this quote from Jeptha Simms book, History of Schoharie County published in 1837. The following quote is attributed to Rynier Gardinier.

  The following anecdote originated at Schenectada during the Visit of Gen. Washington. He was walking on a public street in company with Brower Banker (Capt. Banker), a respectable citizen, and blacksmith by trade, when an old negro passing took off his hat and bowed to him: the great commander immediately returned the compliment. Banker expressed his surprise that his companion thus noticed this descendant of Ishmael, observing it was not the custom of the country thus to notice slaves. “ I cannot be less civil than a poor negro,” was his manly reply, as they proceeded onward.      

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